Central Saanich police and the B.C. Conservation Service are still reminding residents to be aware of an increase in cougar activity on the Peninsula, specifically in the Central Saanich area.
On Aug. 21, police and conservation officers investigated several livestock killings in the Martindale Valley that were believed to be a result of cougar attacks. Seven goats at a farm on Puckle Road and a sheep from a farm on Welch Road were found dead overnight.
Over the last day, Cpl. Janis Jean of the Central Saanich police department said there have been a handful of sightings of a large cat in Brentwood Bay. On Aug. 23 around 7 p.m. a resident from Garden Gate reported a cougar in his back yard and around 8:30 a.m. today a resident on Haldon Road in Saanichton reported seeing a cougar in the vicinity. Jean said there have also been sightings on the southern border of Central Saanich and Saanich.
“We don’t want to scare people and we want the public to know there has been absolutely no aggression shown towards humans from these animals. Conservation is following up and investigating the sightings from last night but we want anyone who sees a cougar to call us right away,” Jean said.
“We’re reminding the public that cougars are most active at night and at dawn and dusk so be aware of your surroundings,” she added.
Police ask anyone who sees or suspects there may have been a cougar in their vicinity call them immediately at 250-652-4441.
Tips on cougar safety from the Central Saanich Police Service:
– Stay calm and keep the cougar in view.
– If you’re with children, pick them up immediately and back away slowly, ensuring the animal has a clear avenue of escape.
– Make yourself look as large as possible and keep the cougar in front of you at all times.
– Never run or turn your back on a cougar because sudden movement may provoke an attack.
– If a cougar shows interest or follows you, respond aggressively. Maintain eye contact with the cat, show your teeth and make loud noise.
– Arm yourself with rocks or sticks as weapons.
– If a cougar attacks, fight back. Convince the cougar you are a threat and not prey and use anything you can as a weapon.
– Focus your attack on the cougar’s face and eyes.